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Kumquat Liqueur (Gin or Vodka) recipe

kumquats ready for converting to a liqueur

Kumquats ready for converting to a liqueur

Our old friend Gilbert introduced us to kumquat liqueur. He serves tiny glasses of this elegant tipple with an exotic fruit salad on Marjorie’s birthday. We were intrigued and clamoured for the recipe. Gilbert refused to share his secret. The resulting impasse was a challenge. If he hadn’t topped up our glasses it could have been war.

We couldn’t take up this challenge for months as we had to wait until kumquats appeared in the local supermarkets. Finally the day came and I rushed home with two small packs of kumquats and a large bottle of gin. Danny picked one up and sniffed it suspiciously. We sampled the rind and the flesh and decided to make two versions of the grog.

Danny carefully pared the rind off his pack of kumquats, using only the rind in the brew. I sliced mine into small rings. Two years later my kumquats looked very pretty in the jar but Danny’s brew won hands down. Mine was bitter-sweet. We had discovered Gilbert’s secret. The sweetness of the kumquat is in the rind rather than the flesh.

The other tip is that most citrus fruit liqueurs (such as our Lemon Gin) need a decent amount of time to develop. I insisted that we kept our kumquat gin for a couple of years before sampling. Two years later Danny carried the bottle in and polished a couple of glasses to recieve the precious liquid. The wait was well worthwhile. Absolutely exquisite.

If you make citrus based liqueurs each year, within a few years you’ll always have some bottles reaching their peak.
“A rock solid investment.” As Gilbert sagely advised us all those years ago.

Kumquat Liqueur (Gin or Vodka) recipe
Recipe Type: Liqueur
Author: Fiona Nevile
  • 1.5 litres of good quality gin or vodka (it does make a huge difference. We use a good supermarket brand).
  • 300g of kumquats
  • 100g granulated sugar (just to start it off as the rind is sweet).
  1. Pour off 200ml of yhe gin/vodka into a small jug to make space in the bottle.
  2. Carefully pare the rind of the fruit, avoiding the bitter pith and add this rind to the bottle.
  3. Using a funnel, add the sugar.
  4. Top up the remaining space with the gin/vodka from the jug.
  5. Pour yourself a large gin/vodka and tonic using the remains from the jug. This might take the edge off the prospect of the long wait ahead.
  6. Leave the bottle on the side and turn it every day for a few days to dissolve the sugar.
  7. Hide the bottle in a dark place for at least two years before sampling alone.

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  1. Lee Patterson

    I have been making Kumquat Liqueur for years now. I still have a bottle which is about four years old now. Oh so strong and delicious. At the markets today I bought a bag for $2 so will be making Brandy and Gin Liqueur.

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